What Happened When This Model Lost Her Leg After Getting Hit by a Drunk Driver

March 28th 2016

Laura Donovan

Every time she walks the runway, Brazilian model Paola Antonini França Costa sends a powerful message about people living with disabilities. 

The 21-year-old Costa (known on social media as Paola Antonini) had to have her leg amputated after being hit by a drunk driver in late 2014

A little over a year since the accident that took her leg, Antonini has maintained an Instagram fan-base of more than 600,000 followers, proving that disabilities don't need to be career-enders, even for models. 

“I want to be a model for other amputees,” she told Brazilian news site Veja BH last year, as translated by the Daily Mail.

Because her leg was crushed so severely during the accident, her doctors were unsuccessful in trying to save it.

“I’d never felt such intense pain in my life,” she said of the procedure. “I chose not to look to see the size of the damage, but I knew it was serious.”

Her parents told the online publication shortly after the tragic event that it marked the "worst" day of their lives.

"We are traumatized by what happened to my daughter and [we] are totally focused on her recovery, asking everyone to pray a lot for her," her father Antonio Tadeu França Costa told the publication, as translated by the Daily Mail.

Antonini's fans have commended her for rising to the occasion and making the most of her situation, with many of her followers calling her "guerreira," which translates to "warrior."



Antonini is not the first model to keep working after having a leg amputated.

Model Lauren Wasser rose to online prominence last summer after Vice reported that she lost her leg as a result of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). The article on Wasser was one of Vice's biggest stories of the year, and she was widely praised when she participated in New York Fashion Week eight months later.

Late last year, Wasser also appeared in ads for Nike in Nordstrom's holiday catalog:

Despite her professional successes a few years after losing her leg, Wasser told Broadly in an interview late last year that it was hard to accept herself following the amputation in 2012.

"I literally was laying there thinking that my life was over," she said. "I would never be accepted again, I could never model again. No one would look at me the same."

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